Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the Chief Electoral Officer to issue instructions to local Offices to accept ethnic minority photographic ID issued by their national authorities.
Martina Anderson said:
“Members of the ethnic minority communities are being denied their democratic right to vote through inconsistent decisions which only apply to the North of Ireland.
“Some ethnic communities, such as the Portuguese do not have access to Passport renewal facilities here and must travel to Manchester to renew their Passports. This necessitates long journeys by road and sea ferry as most airlines require a valid Passport to travel.
“However, most foreign nationals possess photographic ID issued by their respective national authorities. This ID is acceptable for voting purposes in the South of Ireland and in Britain but it is not accepted here.
“And there is an inconsistency in how it is viewed by local electoral offices as sufficient to issue an Electoral Office ID. Some offices will accept it and others will not. I am therefore calling on the Chief Electoral Officer to issue instructions to all offices that in line with the South of Ireland and Britain that national photographic ID from the person’s country of origin is acceptable for both voting purposes and for the issuing of official electoral office ID. CRÍOCH/END